Saturday, November 13, 2010

About Crowds - Quotes

    During the past week I lead a little “research” about the knowledge or wisdom of the crowds within the collection of quotes existing on the web, attempting to discover its various facets. I was interested mainly in the popular wisdom rather than the theoretical aspects, indifferently on whether they are reflected in sayings or in the works of known authors. Here are my findings, without additional comments, in many cases the quotes speaking for themselves:

‎    "Two’s a company, three’s a crowd" (saying)

‎    "The only certainty about following the crowd is that you will all get there together." (Mychal Wynn)

    "The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been." (Alan Ashley-Pitt)

    "Crowds are somewhat like the sphinx of ancient fable: It is necessary to arrive at a solution of the problems offered by their psychology or to resign ourselves to being devoured by them." (Gustave Le Bon)

‎    "What if the 'wisdom of crowds' turns out to be the ignorance of the masses? In fact, what if the Internet is a 'really bad thing' for the world and its population?" (Stephen Saunders)

    "Men whose counsels you would not take as individuals lead you with ease in a crowd." (Cato)

‎    "The amount of knowledge and talent dispersed among the human race has always outstripped our capacity to harness it. Crowdsourcing corrects that – but in doing so, it also unleashes the forces of creative destruction."
(Jeff Howe, Crowdsourcing, 2008) [via]  

    "The average man's opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself." (Bertrand Russell)

    "Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." (Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841)

    "If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas." (Jean Cocteau)

    "The mob has many heads but no brains." (Thomas Fuller)

    "When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one." (Friedrich Nietzsche)

    "Truth happens to individuals, not to crowds." (Osho)

    "Business today consists in persuading crowds." (T.S. Eliot

    "Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists, there may be moods, moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former, but no opinion." (Hannah Arendt)

    "Ideas rose in crowds; I felt them collide until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable combination." (Poincare) [on psychology of discovery, different context but an interesting aspect]

    "Quotes are empty and meaningless. It is how they are used that gives them purpose, how the person repeating those words gives them meaning. Good quotes do not offer the author immortality. Instead, they give the author limitless rebirths on the tongues of the masses." (Andy Clark)

    "It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people." (Giordano Bruno)

    "The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception." (Walter Benjamin)

    "The wisdom of the masses is not always....wise..." (Jon Stewart)

    "In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind." (Edward L. Bernays) [via]

    "Only those who leisurely approach that which the masses are busy about can be busy about that which the masses take leisurely." (Lao Tzu) [via]

    "Beauty is not defined by the masses but by the opinion of the individual." (Rune Leknes) [via]

    "I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses." (Johann Kepler) [via]

    "We should not listen to those who like to affirm that the voice of the people is the voice of God, for the tumult of the masses is truly close to madness." (Alcuin, Letter to Charlemagne) [via]

    "[It] is impossible for us to establish a living vital connection with the masses unless we will work for them, through them and in their midst, not as their patrons but as their servants." (Gandhi) [via]

    "Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses, to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they would but know the soul within." (Gandhi) [via]


     "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." (Thomas Jefferson)

     "When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute." (Walter Lippmann) [via]

     "Observe the masses and do the opposite." (James Caan)

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